Pop singer-songwriter Laura Warshauer is a storyteller first and foremost. Through her music, she examines loss, love and life. The 24-year-old New Jersey native crafts sonic gems, through combining massive pop melodies and flourishes of folk. Her lyrical sensibility hearkens back to songsmiths like Joni Mitchell and Fiona Apple, while the music possesses a pop rock passion a la U2. Laura wants to take listeners on a journey, and her music’s the perfect vessel. “Convince Myself,” “December Night” and the first single, “Sweet 17,” are entrancing, soothing and infectious. She’s paved her own path, and the ride has just begun.
Laura will release her self-titled seven-song debut album on September 23 via Island/Pink Chariot/Fontana. The music is like an aural embrace, pulling listeners in and holding them tightly. “Please Don’t Lie” features orchestral textures that perfectly compliment her warm, ethereal vocals. She describes her sound best, “There’s definitely a folk sensibility, but it’s really about grand melodies. I have a very classic pop structure in terms of my writing style, but lyrically, I offer a unique angle.” That angle sees Laura exploring experiences intimately and in a relatable manner. Songs come naturally to Laura, and she lets inspiration take hold. “I say everything I need to in my songs. It’s my job to stay out of the way and let the songs do the talking.”
The songs spoke loud and clear, and Laura’s immense talent caught the ear of Island Def Jam Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid. He received one of her demos, and he had to go see her play. “He came to a Sunday night rehearsal, and his hands were in the air when he heard me. Afterwards he was speechless. The next day he asked me what I envisioned for myself. I looked him right in the eye and said, ‘I want to rock stadiums, and I want to be doing it in 25 years.’ He replied, ‘I want to do it with you.'” Their partnership has set the stage for Laura’s album this fall and her full-length, Such A Lovely Place, due out in 2009. There’s no doubt she’s on to big things.
The songs say it all. “Sweet 17” is a dreamy anthem of unrequited love. Laura reminisces about her high school years while exploring the relationship she could’ve had with a romantic interest. “I wanted to capture that nostalgic feeling of being 17. At the end of the day, it’s a song about love: finding it, losing it, wondering if it exists or if it’s only in your head. I bring a fantasy that I longed for to life. This wasn’t necessarily the reality of my own life, but the song asks, ‘What if it could’ve been?'” “Sweet 17” highlights Laura’s unique voice and her knack for a big hook. “My Fault” further showcases her diversity. The heartfelt ballad explores abusive relationships intimately. “That song is especially poignant for me. I would love to be involved in organizations that speak out against domestic violence. People can relate to this song if they’ve ever been in a relationship where they’ve lost themselves. ‘My Fault’ captures what it feels like to be in an abusive situation.”
Laura’s created a compelling live show through numerous club concerts and festival dates. Her performances all at once encapsulate her strength and vulnerability. In addition to traditional gigs, she’s been involved with Musicians On Call since she was 16. Musicians On Call began in the pediatric cancer ward at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and the group allows artists to play bedside for patients. About these special performances, Laura comments, “You have three minutes to make a difference. You’re either going to, or you’re not. You can feel the results immediately. You want to take that person somewhere else.”
In addition to an escape, Laura wants to give audiences something they can truly connect to. “People respond when you’re honest in your art. I love it when people get a sense of something real, organic and human from my music. I want to make my music mean something, and I want them to feel an emotional connection. I also want to bring them on some sort of ride.” It’s going to be the ride of a lifetime, and Laura’s driving. – Rick Florino